Reports October 15, 2022

Election Deniers in Attorney General Races

Attorneys general have key roles and responsibilities in several aspects of election administration, election law enforcement, and voting procedures.
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Last updated: October 15, 2022

TRACKING THE TREND OF ELECTION DENIERS RUNNING FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL IN 2022

A project of States United Action

While we think about elections as big national events, they’re run by the states. Your state’s attorney general is one of just a few statewide officials in charge of making sure elections are free, fair, and secure—so it really matters that they are committed to defending the will of the voters, no matter the political outcome. 

Along with your governor and secretary of state, your attorney general sets the rules, runs the elections, supervises the counting of ballots, certifies the results, and protects those results.

The Role of State Attorneys General in Election Administration

Attorneys general have key roles and responsibilities in several aspects of election administration, election law enforcement, and voting procedures, including: 

  • The attorney general defends state voting laws and election results in court. 
  • The attorney general is often the state’s chief law enforcement officer and can take legal action to prevent or address voter intimidation or election misconduct. 
  • The attorney general can be involved in the ballot initiative process to ensure voters receive nonpartisan, accurate information about ballot measures. 

Examples of pro-democracy actions an attorney general can take: defend the state’s official election results and pro-democracy voting procedures from legal challenges; defend the privacy of voters’ personal information from disclosure in election investigations; defend voters from intimidation and suppressive conduct; investigate and prosecute illegal attempts to suppress the vote; and issue robust guidance to local law enforcement detailing their role in safeguarding free, fair, and secure elections. 

Examples of anti-democracy actions an attorney general can take: pursue unsubstantiated lawsuits seeking to invalidate other states’ official election results; fail to defend the state’s pro-democracy voting laws and procedures from legal challenges; and fail to work in good faith with other state constitutional officers to approve election guidance materials. 

Click for an overview of the role of governors and secretaries of state in election administration. For more detailed information on statewide election administration roles and responsibilities, visit our “Guide to Statewide Offices and Election Power.” 

The Election Denier threat

In 2022, 30 states and the District of Columbia have contests for attorney general. As of October 15, 2022, around one-third (10 of 31) of attorney general races currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot. Election Deniers running for attorney general are moving on to the November general election in at least 10 states. 

  • Of the Attorney General primaries that already happened, more than half (16 of 31) had an Election Denier running. Election Deniers running on a major party ticket have won more than half (69 percent or 11/16) of their primary races for attorney general.
    • Some notable moments in the races for Attorney General featuring an Election Denier: 
      • In Alabama, Election Denier Steve Marshall won with no opposition. 
      • In Idaho, Election Denier Paul Labrador upset a non-Election Denier incumbent by 13 points.  
      • In Texas, Election Denier incumbent Ken Paxton won by 20 points over candidates who were not Election Deniers. 
      • In South Carolina, Election Denier incumbent Alan Wilson won by 30 points over candidates who were not Election Deniers. 
      • In Georgia, incumbent Chris Carr defeated an Election Denier (John Gordon) by 40 points. 
      • In Maryland, Election Denier Michael Peroutka won 55.9 percent of the vote, 10 points ahead of candidates who were not Election Deniers. 

For more information on the Election Deniers running for Attorney General across the country, click here to view our dashboard.

Election Deniers Running for Attorney General
Alabama - Steve Marshall
Arizona - Abraham Hamadeh
Florida - Ashley Moody
Idaho - Raúl Labrador
Kansas - Kris Kobach
Maryland - Michael Peroutka
Michigan - Matthew DePerno
Michigan - Joe McHugh
Nevada - Sigal Chattah
Texas - Ken Paxton
South Carolina - Alan Wilson